Too many of us will be losing our legacies in 2010. Below is my story - just one in 70,000. I'm sending it to any one that will listen. I don't think it will change anything - but I wouldn't be my father's daughter if I went down quietly or without a fight.
Share your story - ... here is mine
His name was Joe Romano: Seat 18, Row 9, Section 112. The seat his daughter will occupy for only two more seasons. Eight times a year (10 during a good season) she sits there and knows he’s close - vibrating with the same excitement, thump-thump-thumping with the stadium music– on tip toes, neck craning waiting for that burst of blue through the tunnel and the roar of the crowd. Screaming, chanting, sweating, freezing, cheering….. He’ll be with her on opening day this year – when the “Superbowl Champion” Banner is raised - just as he was during the 4&12s , the 6&10s, the 8&8s …. And he’ll be there for the final goodbye.
This is only one story in 70,000. Many will be leaving fathers behind in 2010 – and not by choice. Legacies it appears come at a hefty price. One most will no longer be able to afford. How ironic that those who screamed their throats raw game after game, year after year, generation after generation – are truly left with no voice. If they did the price for the 12th (wo)man would not be so high. How sad that the euphemistic “Coach’s Club” will be devoid of those with true passion for not just for the game but for “their team”. How sad for the players that they will no longer have the experience of the true-blue fans at their back: No more Average Joes screaming D-# (defense to the lay person) and swinging towels – even the booing and “colorful” taunts that are so much a New York player’s rite of passage will be gone. No fear - I’m sure the replacement Corporate Joes will clap politely when prompted. They will stand on cue, sit on cue and refrain from inappropriate language. They will use only positive reinforcement to encourage and inside voices when required. There will be no “down in fronts” for that crowd… which must be such a relief to Mr. Mara & the Giants organization (whew - finally rid of the riff-raff). (You may however have to train your new Stepford Fans not to make noise when our boys have the ball. For there will be no more true fans left to explain it to them).
Hear my voice, “Corporate Joe or Jane” and remember it when you sit in Seat 18:
Ø Joe Romano and his daughter were there and watched together in horror when Herm Edwards picked up that ball on 11/19/78…. the stadium was oddly quiet for a beat or two before erupting into a chorus of SH#@S. It was that awful shared communal moment that hooked Joe’s then sixteen year old daughter forever and made her (not her brothers) the heir apparent to Seat 18. (I wonder – do you know what the nickname for that game is?)
Ø Joe Romano drove everyone crazy on the way to every game. Trapped together in a small car – they had no choice but to endure his ditty of the week “Nothin would be finer than to beat the 49ers”…… and Joe could NOT sing his way out of a paper bag.
Ø Only an incident short of natural disaster caused Joe Romano to miss a game. If he did miss one, the world knew about it several weeks in advance and was reminded of it for weeks after. His daughter (chipette-off –the-old-block) would be no disappointment to Joe – she has been known to wear her jersey to family gatherings, ask for dates and/or times of major events to be changed (think weddings & baptisms) and when all else failed to frequently check scores during the mass. (Yeah – when the time comes, she’s probably gonna need some pull from Joe with the Big Guy for that one).
Ø Joe Romano wore a goofy winter G-Man hat with a pom-pom on it… yeah – a pom-pom - on a grown man - not a pretty sight. (One of Joe’s children gave it to him for Christmas). Joe’s daughter looped that same hat through her belt-hook during Superbowl XLII and wrung it tight as Eli Manning broke free…
Ø The entire stadium once chanted “We Want Joe”….sorry it was one of those “you had to be there moments”…. But it’s not an exaggeration & it did happen – his friends and the other fans in the stadium that day will remember it …
Ø Joe Romano would have hated the fact that his daughter tattooed the team logo on her shoulder (very un-lady like). He would have protested loud, long and continually to any one who would listen …. (but in secret he would have been proud)
Ø Joe Romano’s granddaughter is a fan of the same magnitude as her mother. She said “touch-down” before “mama” and cried when they won XLII …… and will never sit in Seat 18.
Daddy…….I promise you this:
I will honor your memory. I will savor each moment of these last seasons. I will imprint the smell, the feel, the colors, the freezing cold, the scalding heat, every face next to me, behind me, in front of me. I will preserve this and wrap it in a warm cocoon. I will try not to let my sadness overshadow the joy of these moments….. but I can not promise you that on that last day I will not cry … for I can not help but feel as if I’m losing you again.
Yes - Corporate Joe there is a face and a story to Seat 18. It is only one story of 70,0000 Average Joes – but I’ve included a picture so you will remember it. If you look close you will see the ghosts of all the other stories around it (Aunt Pat, Billy, Dante, Michael….). We are not Maras – so the preservation of our fathers’ legacies are out of our hands. See my face and hear my voice when my team rushes through that tunnel on opening day 2010. Enjoy the new bells and whistles, the revamped jumbo-tron, the fireworks – all the trappings that don’t matter – the ones you paid the equivalent of a small portion of my children’s student loans for. The “enhancements” the true-blue fans never asked for – but were expected to pay for…..
John - I wonder what Wellington would think? Would he be proud? Will you feel him with you on opening day 2010?